Khalifa Center Researchers in UAE University Managed to Answer the Question of Whether the Sabkha Is Alive or Not?
Fri, 22 July 2022
A group of researchers from khalifa Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, UAEU, was able to answer the question of whether the costal sabkha is alive or not? The genomic analysis of 225 sabkhas in the United Arab Emirates revealed that this arid environment provides a habitat for various microbial life forms.
The study was published in “Scientific Reports”, a reputable journal in science . It was conducted by a group of researchers spearheaded by Professor Khaled Amiri, Chairman of the Biology Department and director of the Khalifa Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, in cooperation with researchers from New York University and students from the department of biology at UAEU.
Professor Khaled Amiri said, “This study is highly innovative; it answers a very significant question regarding the living environment in the salt flats or what is known as sabkhas. The scientific knowledge generated from this research is very important to provide solution to agricultural challenges faced within arid environments. This contributes to the scientific research supporting food security both locally and globally. The full genome sequence of the natural population of microbiome of the sabkhas revealed various biological metabolisms with the Cyanobacteriales species being at the heart of light-driven metabolic processes in the high saline sabkhas. Moreover, we found that the large-scale interdependence of cyanobacteria in juxtaposition with other microbial assemblages may be a crucial factor in thriving, dynamic sabkha development over the years”.
“Salt stress tolerance genes were identified along with the genes associated with biomineralization, such as biodegradation. Moreover, salt constitutes the primary force that led to this microbiological diversity in these environments. The beneficial genes are detected and transferred within the microbial community allowing an enhanced ability for adaptation in this harsh environment. Plants are very limited in sabkhas due to the high concentration of salt and other abiotic residues. identifying the microorganisms that help in alleviating and enhancing abiotic stress for agricultural application paves the way towards more research paths”, he added.
The Khalifa Center for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology investigates the mechanisms of these processes and the different types of interactions focusing on microbial communities which are beneficial for biosaline agriculture. Studying the microbial populations of these hypersaline mudflats is an innovative standpoint in industrial applications.
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